Friday Find: Brown Rice Pasta

I'm not whole-heartedly gluten free, and have a total weakness for something like a warm sour-dough loaf, with soft cheese, ham and olives as part of an impromptu picnic. When eating out, I see no point in ruthlessly searching the menu for the only GF option. However, it does seem like a particularly good idea to replace something with a naturally gluten free alternative when possible at home. Many people are absolutely fine with eating gluten, and coeliac sufferers will have no option but to avoid every trace of the stuff. Many people are keen though to try and reduce their intake, and may notice an improvement in their skin, bloating, or energy levels. 
Doves Farm Gluten Free Organic Brown Rice Penne 500g
Doves Farm Brown Rice Penne
I love pasta and this brown rice alternative tastes and looks almost identical, and not only is it naturally GF but also higher in fibre and nutrients. I'll have a super speedy, totally easy, nourishing and natural rice pasta with greens and mackerel recipe up soon. 

Revising Stress

Exams are a truly appalling fact of life, and for anyone currently revising for GCSE's, A-Levels, degrees or similar, you'll know that sometimes the work mounts up and stress is inevitable. There are a few simple things that might be helpful in reducing the stress (unfortunately it probably won't go away completely until they're over):

1) Take decent breaks. Instead of spending your break sitting in front of the computer, try walking around, do a few exercises, make a cup of tea, or sit outside - it'll help your mind rest and rejuvenate.  

Candlelit bubble bath...i love!

2) Relax your way. Decide to take an evening off for a hot bath with candles, oils and soft music, or use the afternoon to go for a countryside cycle. Even if you find yourself thinking about exams, spending time away from the books and thinking through things in a relaxed environment will help you to feel balanced during the exam. 

DIY "to do list" Notepad

3) Plan Ahead. Make a realistic schedule at the beginning of the week and try to stick with it, remembering to factor in time for other activities such as seeing friends or going to the gym. 

4) Ask for help. There is absolutely nothing stupid in asking for help, it's always the clever thing to do and much better than struggling over a problem alone. Check with your teacher, parents, siblings or friends if you have worries about something. 

5) Brain Food. Make sure you aren't eating too much or too little - it's easy to miss meals when you're concentrating, then to snack excessively. Stick to balanced meals containing nourishing veggies, grains and protein. Oily fish or seeds containing omega-3 (mackerel or flax seeds) are said to improve memory and brain performance.

6) Prepare. So your not rushed on the morning of the exam, remember to prepare your pencil-case, relevant documents etc the night before, and then stock up on a filling, hearty breakfast, like porridge with banana and peanut butter, in the morning. 

Ask The Macro Manager: How Do I Eat To Maximize Athletic Performance? - Banana Walnut Oatmeal -

Lots of luck and by working hard while you keep mentally and physically healthy, you're more than likely to do well.

7 Secrets for Acing Your Next Exam - I needed this about a week ago....English exam tomorrow....2-3 hours me

Friday Find: Easter Edition

Easter Sunday is the best excuse to indulge in chocolate galore, and the best way to make it a guilt free day too is to indulge in the right kind of chocolate ... Here are some of my picks for a healthier chocolate (not an oxymoron!):

Ombar / Conscious / Booja Booja / IQ Superfood / Green & Blacks 

Marvellous Meditation

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior's world. ~Pema Chödrön
Via Pinterest
When I first started meditating, the earlier moments felt virtuous, sitting cross legged with my eyes closed and hands held out. Soon though, I began to feel cold, and achy from the hard floor. I couldn't help thinking through my to do list and tiny sounds became irritating, the repetitive bird call outside or the gurgle of pipes. The aim of meditation is to clear your mind of stresses and reach a higher level of being. The Dalai Lama I am not, but these little tips definitely improved the whole experience...

Buy Fur Chocolate Floor Cushions Online at
John Lewis Floor Cushion

1. A large cushion. It seems obvious, but makes a big difference - I particularly like something furry or soft that will keep my feet toasty too.

Real Luxury: Home Candle
Neom Organic Candle
2. A candle - not only does the scent sooth and relax me, but to keep your eyes open, and have a dark room with a single source of focus, the flickering flame, helps to clear the mind. 

3.  Deep breathing - expanding my diaphragm and taking long breaths in and out through my nose helps to keep a sense of calm. Focusing on the sound of my breathing also caused other annoying sounds to pale into insignificance.

4. Another option to dull out any background noise is to play some gentle music - i.e. Whale or dolphin sounds. Stay away from flowing water type stuff though, unless you want to get the desperate urge to go to the loo! 

For more tips and advice on getting started or improving your experience, check out this article by Todd Goldfarb.

Friday Find: Lavera Basis Hand Cream

£6.95 from Amazon 
This stuff smells absolutely delectable, an early sign that it'll be something great. First impressions do matter, and despite the phrase 'don't judge a book by its cover', the buttery appearance and floral smell of this product suggest that it's worth the purchase. And it is! My hand's feel moisturised and non-greasy, and it seems particularly efficient at tackling all my gardening scratches and scrapes, reducing the redness. The best part though? A little goes a long way, and it lasts well too, my hands still feel soft after the washing up is done. 
It's Vegan, and contains chamomile, organic almond and Shea butter.